HEIC: Hubble Explores Formation & Evolution of Star Clusters

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HEIC: Hubble Explores Formation & Evolution of Star Clusters

Post by bystander » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:02 pm

Hubble Explores Formation and Evolution of
Star Clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud

ESA Hubble Science Release | 2019 Sep 09
Just as people of the same age can vary greatly in appearance and shape, so do collections of stars or stellar aggregates. New observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope suggest that chronological age alone does not tell the complete story when it comes to the evolution of star clusters.

Previous research on the formation and evolution of star clusters has suggested that these systems tend to be compact and dense when they form, before expanding with time to become clusters of both small and large sizes. New Hubble observations in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy have increased our understanding of how the size of star clusters in the LMC changes with time [1]. ...

All star clusters, including those in the LMC, have been found to host a special type of re-invigorated stars called blue stragglers [2]. Under certain circumstances, stars receive extra fuel that bulks them up and substantially brightens them. This can happen if one star pulls matter off a neighbour, or if they collide.

As a result of dynamical aging, heavier stars sink towards the centre of a cluster as the cluster ages, in a process similar to sedimentation, called “central segregation”. Blue stragglers are bright, making them relatively easy to observe, and they have high masses, which means that they are affected by central segregation and can be used to estimate the dynamical age of a star cluster [3]. ...

Size diversity of old Large Magellanic Cloud clusters as determined by internal dynamical evolution ~ F. R. Ferraro et a
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